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Full text of "The Gay Genius"

ARREST AND TRIAL                           173

sovereign. Now," Sudan pointed the moral finger> "when a minister

loses his sense of duty and follows his selfish interests, there is nothing

/Chat such a person will stop at. What may he not do next? ... Su Shih's

I crimes are more than unpardonable; even ten thousand deaths will not

suffice to make amends for his insult to Your Majesty. I hope Your

Majesty will hand him over to the court for criminal effrontery to the

throne, as a warning to all Your Majesty's subjects. I am bursting with

a spirit of loyal indignation."

There was a bit of curious casuistry in another censor's impeachment.
When Su Tungpo was on his way to assume office at Huchow, he had
written an inscription for a certain Chang's garden. In this inscription
Su had said: "The gentlemen of ancient days did not insist on going
into office, nor did they insist on keeping out of office. If a scholar
msists on being an official, he is likely to forget his soul; if he insists on
not becoming an official he is lively to forget his Emperor" This was
a summing up by Mencius of Confucius' attitude toward joining a
government. The censor, however, in his great loyalty to the Emperor,
tried to persuade the latter that Su Shih was preaching a dangerous
doctrine. "A scholar," he said, "should never forget his Emperor
whether he is in or out of office. Now Su Shih is preaching that one
should not forget his Emperor only when he is out of office!"

It was left to Leeding to show four reasons why Su Tungpo should
p^y with his life. He prefaced his memorandum by the remark that "Su
Tungpo is a shallow scholar and won a reputation only by chance; by
an accident he passed the special examinations and was favoured with
a government post.5* Leeding went on to say that Su was sour because
he had hoped to get a higher post, and to give expression to his petty
disgruntled heart slandered those in authority. One of the reasons why
he should be killed was that the Emperor had tolerated him long
enough, hoping for him to reform, but that Su could not take a warning.
Another reason why he should be killed was that although Su's writings
were nonsensical, they had an important influence on the country. "In
my office as guardian of the law, I cannot allow such crimes to go un-
punished. I hope Your Majesty will exercise your enlightened judg-
ment and carry out the law, not only to put a stop to this demoralising
influence but to give encouragement to those who are loyal and
sincere in their service to the country. Thus good and evil men may
be sharply distinguished and the moral atmosphere of society will
be purified."

The trial began on August 20. The defendant deposed that he was
forty-four years of age (forty-two in the Western reckoning), and gave
an account of his .ancestry, his place of nativity, the years in which he
passed the imperial examinations, and the different official posts he had